PUTRAJAYA: The three Turkish citizens arrested in connection with alleged terrorist activities will be deported to their home country despite pleas from their families not to do so out of fear for their safety following Turkey’s ongoing crackdown on critics.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia would not entertain the families’ appeals as the matter was not Putrajaya’s responsibility.
“It’s not our responsibility. We must send them to their country of origin.
“Why should we bear the burden of another country?” Zahid told reporters here today.
Turkish citizens, Turgay Karaman, Ismet Ozcelik and Ihsan Aslan, were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) last week.
Zahid, who is also home minister, later said the arrests were made after police obtained information from the Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communications Centre (CMC), an Asean effort to stem the spread of propaganda by militant groups in cyberspace.
He added that the police had made some findings based on the trio’s communications that led authorities to suspect they posed a threat to national security.
It was recently reported that Karaman feared being deported to Turkey.
His wife, Ayse Gul, claimed he would be tortured there.
Ayse was referring to the crackdown by the Turkish government against supporters of exiled Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen who was accused by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being the mastermind behind the attempted coup in the country last year.
Apart from Ayse, Human Rights Watch also urged Putrajaya not to deport the detainees to Turkey “under any circumstances” as they faced torture and an unfair trial.
Zahid said Putrajaya would negotiate with Turkish authorities on the fate of the children and wives of the three Turkish men, who are currently living in Malaysia.
“If the wives and children are innocent they will not be punished although it would be better if they return home.”
Zahid said Malaysia would allow the wives and children to remain in the country as long as they met the visa requirements.